In­de­pen­dence and oil rev­enue dis­cussed in Pres­i­dent Barzani’s visit to Turkey

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE - By Salih Wal­ad­bagi

A se­nior Kur­dish del­e­ga­tion led by Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Pres­i­dent Mas­soud Barzani paid a visit to Turkey on 14 July, 2014, aim­ing to dis­cuss in­de­pen­dence and, the KRG’s fi­nan­cial cri­sis and the share of Kur­dish oil rev­enue.

In his visit which was de­scribed as a critical and sur­prise one, Barzani met with Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan, the Pres­i­dent of Turkey Ab­dul­lah Gul and For­eign Min­is­ter Ah­met Davu­toğlu in Ankara.

The visit came al­most after ten months from his his­toric visit to Di­yarbakir to en­hance the on­go­ing peace process be­tween the Turk­ish govern­ment and the Kur­dish pop­u­la­tion in the coun­try.

In­de­pen­dence pack­age

Pres­i­dent Barzani’s agenda cov­ered the pos­si­bil­ity of an in­de­pen­dent state in north­ern Iraq, the po­lit­i­cal at­mos­phere in the coun­try, Kur­dis­tan and Kirkuk’s oil in ad­di­tion to the on­go­ing peace process in Turkey.

His visit came after Barzani asked the Kur­dis­tan Par­lia­ment to pre­pare the ground for hold­ing two ref­er­en­dums as soon as pos­si­ble. The first one to an­nex the long-dis­puted ter­ri­to­ries to the KRG ad­min­is­tra­tion, and the sec­ond one to an­nounce in­de­pen­dence and sep­a­rate from Iraq.

Turkey has not so far of­fi­cially an­nounced sup­port for the Kur­dish call for in­de­pen­dence, but several Turk­ish of­fi­cials in­di­rectly said that the neigh­bor­ing Turkey would not re­ject a new coun­try as Iraq is mired in vi­o­lence and sec­tar­ian strife.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Bu­lent Arinc said Turkey does not want to see Iraq break up, with­out clearly stat­ing op­po­si­tion to a Kur­dish state in Iraq, Turk­ish me­dia re­ported.

The Turks might pre­fer a sta­ble and oil-rich Kur­dish state rather than an in­sta­ble, vi­o­lent and non-demo­cratic Iraq. The Turks have come to a point that the Kurds in Iraq are not a fac­tor of threat over the Turk­ish unity and pro­vok­ing the Kurds in the coun­try.

How­ever, Pres­i­dent Barzani, whose party gained the first place amongst the Kur­dish par­ties in the last April elec­tions, told Ger­many’s Die Welt news­pa­per, that: “he does not look ahead to re­ceive help or re­sis­tance from Turkey with re­gard to in­de­pen­dence.”

“The Turks dis­cussed with Barzani a mech­a­nism to avoid in­ci­dents that could in­flame eth­nic and sec­tar­ian strife in Iraq and that the po­lit­i­cal ef­forts to pre­serve the in­tegrity of the coun­try should be sup­ported,” wrote Turk­ish well-known au­thor Cen­giz Can­dar, a jour­nal­ist since 1976, he is the au­thor of seven books in the Turk­ish lan­guage, mainly on Mid­dle East is­sues.

Ap­proach­ing the up­com­ing Turk­ish pres­i­den­tial elec­tions and the on­go­ing peace process made it im­per­a­tive to the Turk­ish of­fi­cials not to say any­thing to make the Kur­dish leader, Barzani, up­set. PM Er­do­gan might need his in­flu­ence in the elec­tions to col­lect more votes in the elec­tions.

The Kur­dish pres­i­dent and his fam­ily have long been known as a na­tional fam­ily and strug­gled hard to be able to an­nounce a Kur­dish state.

“Kur­dish pol­i­tics is based on two cour­ses of ac­tions. The first is work­ing with the na­tional forces to re­build Iraq, and the sec­ond is ex­er­cis­ing the right of self-de­ter­mi­na­tion if ef­forts to save Iraq fail,” Pres­i­dent Barzani told AlMon­i­tor on July 10.

The KRG could not with­draw its share of the oil rev­enue be­cause Turkey has been wait­ing for a so­lu­tion be­tween the KRG and the fed­eral govern­ment on how to di­vide the rev­enues. .

PM Barzani pre­pared the ground

Ear­lier, Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Govern­ment (KRG) Prime Min­is­ter Nechir­van Barzani vis­ited Turkey’s PM Er­do­gan Dolmabahce of­fice to pre­pare the ground for the Pres­i­dent Barzani’s visit.

The two Prime Min­is­ters talked about es­ca­lat­ing vi­o­lence in Iraq as well as en­hanc­ing bi­lat­eral eco­nomic re­la­tions.

The Kur­dish and Turk­ish Premiers em­pha­sized on an emer­gency ini­tia­tive to re­store sta­bil­ity and se­cu­rity in the chaotic Iraq.

They also dis­cussed pro­vid­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian aid to the refugees tak­ing shel­ter in Kur­dis­tan, in par­tic­u­lar Turk­men, and en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion too.

The Kur­dish me­dia out­lets re­ported that the KRG’s del­e­ga­tion vis­ited neigh­bor­ing Turkey to col­lect the oil rev­enue, what the Turk­ish En­ergy Min­is­ter Taner Yildiz de­nied.

The Turk­ish min­is­ter stated that the two sides are try­ing to open a “per­ma­nent bank ac­count and a sus­tain­able busi­ness” with the Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

Ac­cord­ing to Turk­ish me­dia out­lets, the oil rev­enue of the first Kur­dish oil cargo that was $93 mil­lion de­posited in the Turk­ish Halk­bank last month. The Kur­dish oil loaded on a huge cargo ship in the Mediter­ranean.

The KRG’s Min­is­ter of Fi­nance Re­baz Mo­hammed, who ac­com­pa­nied PM Barzani to Turkey, said that one of the main pur­poses of the visit was to en­sure trans­fer­ring the ac­count to Kur­dis­tan’s cen­tral bank.

Yildiz said that it was not in his govern­ment’s agenda to think of split­ting the KRG’s oil share. He an­nounced that the Turk­ish govern­ment has been work­ing on ar­range­ments re­lat­ing to the rights of both Er­bil and Bagh­dad.

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